with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: weddings

It’s a Nice Week to Talk About Weddings.

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

When Leslie and I first started this blog, it was called “Bride At 35”, and it was geared towards wedding advice and such for those over the age of 35. We both got married the year we turned 39, and we found that so much of what was out there for brides was geared toward younger folks. Eventually, though, we realized that we were talking more about life in general at this age, so we became “The Sweet Midlife”.  We always thought, though, that we would still talk occasionally about weddings and such since that is a part of life to.

This is where you come in!

Next week will be Wedding Week here on The Sweet Midlife, and we need your help. We are looking for contributions from you guys that we can feature on our blog! They can be….

  • Your love story/wedding story if you got married over 35 and how you think getting married at that age affected that. Hopefully it was in a good way.
  • Advice to folks getting married now. We would love to hear from people who got married “older”, AND people who got married younger (and if you aren’t married anymore, we still want to hear what you have to say).
  • From wedding-goers/bridesmaids: We would love to hear your advice on how brides and grooms can make their day great for you, too. Would love to hear stories: hopefully they all turned out good or you can put a positive spin on things that didn’t go so well.
  • If you are single, we would love to hear from you, too. It could be thoughts on being a wedding-goer/wedding party person (see above), how you have felt either honored or not at weddings (I, for one, the older I got, felt put on display at the bouquet toss. In a very bad way). Or anything.
  • Any other wedding thing that we aren’t thinking of but you want to write about!

So, yeah! We would love to hear from you, whether you want to send us a whole blog post, or if you just have 1 piece of advice that we can compile with other folks’ stuff. You can inbox through Facebook, or you can email it to sweetmidlifelynneleslie@gmail.com. Can’t wait to see what you got! Share the love!!


Happy SITS Day at Sweet Midlife! Serving up twin realness since 1971!

by SweetMidlife

Nancy the comic strip and a gypsy in a Holly Hobby turtleneck walk into a room. There is much cuteness and nothing much gets accomplished.

OK, so technically we haven’t been blogging that long. There were no blogs in 1971, and there certainly weren’t computers when we met, in a nice warm womb in Baltimore. But blogs are really just communication, and we, Lynne and Leslie, the twins who write this blog, have certainly always done that. It was probably something like “You’re taking up too much room in here,” which isn’t all that eloquent or blog-worthy.

But it was a start.

So here we are, nearly 42 years later, both married but living in different states. One’s a mom. One’s not (yet). One’s a teaching artist, the other a newspaper reporter. Both got married in their 39th year, barely escaping the Spinster Buzzer (which sounds like the legs of a rocking chair going over the tails of many cats.) We’re both kinda goofy, but have a lot to say about relationships, friendships, dirty dishes, reality stars who won’t show up, death, life and cheese.

Interestingly, this used to be a blog about being older brides, and we still talk about the state of relationships that bear the benefit of having (alleged) wisdom under our belts. But weddings are just the candy-covered frosting of the rest of your life, and that’s where we like to be. The cake’s the good part.

So come on in and hang out. Tell us what you think. Give us some advice. Encourage Lynne to finish that framed calendar thing she’s been trying to craft. Make Leslie go to boot camp. Tell us where the good cheese is.

And thanks for coming!


Yes, I was an old bride! And thanks for the ice cream!

by SweetMidlife

Taken three years ago. And no, this is not from a Lifetime movie.

The hubby and I just got back from a quick but satisfying third anniversary getaway in Vero Beach, Florida, less than two hours away from home but a whole world removed from the “Lookit my money” feel of Palm Beach or the “Lookit my boobs” feel of Miami. The evening was notable in many ways, and not just how the very nice people at the resort, from the staff to the other guests, tried to not looked shocked when two middle-aged people explained they were celebrating their third, not 20th, anniversary. It was kinda sweet, but we get it. We’re old. We’re fine with it. Thanks for the complimentary anniversary spiked ice cream sandwich and cocktails anyway!

Honestly, everyone was incredibly sweet and seemed happy for us, even though they didn’t know us. The cool thing about where we are in society is that there is less of a stigma to being married later in life – especially first marriages – and you know both of the writers of this here blog wed at 38, nearly 39, for the first time. So it’s surprising to me when people are obviously shocked when they see us, quickly surmise the 4- in our ages, and then do the math in their heads when we reveal that we’re newlyweds.

“First wedding?” many people say, as if being second-timers has to explain it.

Umm, no. I was Spinsterella till I met this here bald man, who was also a bachelor before me. I didn’t just escape a convent, he hadn’t taken a vow of celibacy and neither of us were horribly damaged socially awkward misfits who’d never been kissed. It just hadn’t happened. And then it did. And we were happy. And although neither of us were as young, thin and fresh as we may have imagined being on our jaunt down the aisle, we wouldn’t have changed the way things turned out for anything in the world, except that meeting earlier would have given us more time together.

In short, we’re not young. But our love is. It’s a lumpy, bald love, but the kind that giggles easily, that doesn’t get freaked out when someone farts in bed, that shrugs off the small stuff and says “It took my whole life to find you. You’re never getting rid of me. Let me lick my finger to wipe that ketchup off your face and then let’s enjoy this free anniversary dessert. We’ve earned it.”


Old weird love: Celebrating the romance of aches and pains

by SweetMidlife

Grown and sexy. With Spanx!

Leslie here! One of my favorite things about “30 Rock” is Tina Fey’s ability to sneak a surprisingly poignant moment into the most goofily surreal scene. There’s an episode where nutty egomaniac TV star Tracy Jordan has supposedly taken off to Africa (we find out later he’s hiding out in New York), propelling his wife Angie to seize the spotlight with her wacko Bravo reality show “Queen of Jordan” (“HAAAM!)

Angie protests that Tracy’s absence is a good thing because it allows her to come out of his shadow. But in the middle of the wackiness, she admits something to de facto confidante/boss/bewildered observer Liz Lemon – the things about Tracy that drive her insane, like him showing up drunk at their wedding or basically being a crazy person are the same things that draws her to him.

“I miss my weird love,” she wails, and I remember clapping in recognition at that line, because I, too have a weird love. And an old love, relatively speaking – not older than me, because we’re both old. A love that I found at the relatively advanced age of 38, past the age where I was my youngest or cutest or skinniest, at the age where 10 p.m. is the time we’re coming home exhausted rather than headed out. Sometimes, he’ll lovingly point out when I have an old-lady whisker (Don’t worry, 20-somethings. It’s coming for you one day) and I’ll kiss him on his bald head.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have the luxury of knowing what my husband looked like at 15, when he was all dark hair and swagger and high school hallway card games in his Camaro. And he sure was cute. But he was just some guy in my class. He wasn’t mine. What he looked like from 23-37 I know from photos, and he was cute, but he wasn’t mine. The 41-year-old with the bald head who falls asleep early and is a proud baseball and wrestling uncle to his nephew, who’s as confident in the Spongebob aisle at Toys-R-Us as he is in a silk shirt at a casino? He’s mine. I would cut a skank over him. And I am madly, passionately, girlfriendly in love with him. I sometimes wish we’d gotten together sooner, but only because that would have given us even more time together.

The woman that he fell in love with was 20 pounds past her marathon weight, not as fly as she used to be and given to crankiness, as well as to karaoke binges, true crime shows and stuff about wedding dresses. And he fell in love with her anyway. I’ll look wistfully at my skinny photos and say “Don’t you wish you’d met her?” And he’ll look at me and say “Why? I love you!” And then Billy Joel comes into my head and we love each other just the way we are, crankiness and cellulite and baldness and weird whiskers. And then someone falls asleep on the couch.

I don’t love him in spite of that stuff, or vice versa. We fell in love with the old, weird versions of each other. And that makes me smile. And then wanna take a nap, because I’m old.


Putting Off the Big Day Because of the Big Dollars

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

Okay, so I was watching the 6am news last week, and they were previewing a story that I think was going to be on the “Today” show about how because of the economy, there were brides and grooms putting off their wedding for as much as two years so that they could save up and have the dream wedding they wanted.  And this made sense and made me sad at the same time.  I LOVE weddings. LURVE them. I have been planning weddings in my head since the first time I got my hands on a bridal magazine at like age 10.  I always had a list of bridesmaids in my head that changed over the years, and I would hear songs on the radio and choreograph my entrance into the church in my car. Mind you, this started way before I got engaged, and shoot, when the engagement was imminent (we did pre-engagement counseling with a pastor to uncover any issues before we bought stuff), I did this wedding guest list on a plane and just with my people it was a bunch of folks. Seriously. But when we started planning, it was back to life, back to reality. This was because we were paying for our own wedding and couldn’t afford that, and also due to the fact that after dating for 2 1/2 years, we didn’t want a long engagement.  We just wanted to start that part of our lives together, and that meant that we got married 2 months after the proposal.  Which meant that once we made that decision, it logically meant that we had to plan a wedding with the resources that we had in front of us. It did mean that there were things that I had always thought I would have at my wedding that I couldn’t (like a mashed potato bar, but I finally got that at my baby shower), and people that I wasn’t able to invite because the guest list was smaller.   We didn’t want to owe money later, so used savings. money from a retirement fund, and the unsolicited but TRULY appreciated help of friends and family who did our photography at a discounted rate, or contributed to our flower budget, or bought my veil (GRANDMA!!!!), or straight up gave us money to put towards the wedding bill.  And I found that when I had planned the wedding in my head, I didn’t take into account that maybe the person I married would also have an opinion, so there was a lot of compromise. So in the end, I didn’t have the wedding I had been dreaming of for almost 30 years, but it turned out to be the wedding I couldn’t have possibly dreamed of. Because even with my vivid imagination, I never could have come up with something so beautiful and lovely and loving and heartfelt and musical and honest as what we got. And there were waffles involved.

Now, this is my story. I know people the same age as us who took time to save towards the big day and had year-long engagements and big, beautiful weddings that were just as authentic and passionate and touching as ours was.  But it goes to personal preference.  And they didn’t postpone their weddings so they could have bigger ones. They just knew that having the wedding they really wanted meant taking some time.  How about you? If you had a wedding planned but realized that you couldn’t afford it in the time you wanted to do it, would you revise your vision to start the union, or would you be okay with holding off until you could get what you have always wanted?  Tell us what you think, and share personal stories/opinions/stuff if you got it!


“The Bachelor” or “Why 40-year-olds don’t do this show”

by SweetMidlife

This is what forever looks like. Ha ha ha! No, it doesn't!

(A version of this is also on PBPost.com)

Leslie here! Let’s be honest. They don’t cast 40-year-olds on this show primarily because young people don’t think 40-year-olds are sexy (although I have met Daniel Craig and I beg to differ.) But there’s another reason that older contestants, particularly women, wouldn’t run to apply to this thing unless they were desperate for love, attention, fame or some other prize that their lack of meds required…

…because no self-respecting adult woman that I know is going to be cool with a man that they’ve gotten serious with enough to consider a proposal literally tomorrow dating someone else so seriously that they could propose to either of them at any time.

In other words…we should be past the “Seeing other people” stage long before I consider even meeting your mama, let alone consider accepting official jewelry. But these pretty, young starry-eyed ladies on this show don’t seem to have a problem with going the distance with a man – in this case, Bachelor Ben – going “I could spend my life with either of you. Seriously. It’s a toss-up.”

In real life, that situation might get a fist tossed toward your nose. But on TV, it gets you a finale. A finale whose ratings were, as my friend Johnette says, kinda booty. And not the good kind of booty.

For what it’s worth, I thought that Ben and Courtney, the pretty but villainous-ish model of his choice, had the most sobering and real response to what happens when reality – the off-camera kind – sinks in. You’re home. You can see the show, and the parts of the other person that you couldn’t see during filming. You are hearing from the rest of America what they think of what they’ve seen. And they aren’t kind. You aren’t allowed to be in the presence of that person you’re supposed to be marrying and spending eternity with, making Switzerland and fantasy suites and mountaintop proposals pale in comparison to the everyday.

They both seemed disappointed – and perhaps, too surprised for grown folks – that you can’t count on the casting and magic of a game show to guarantee true love. Shocking shockeroo!

No. Not really. Not to anyone over three. And none of the three year olds I know are that stupid.

Anyway, they both seemed sobered, shockingly so, by the hurts and slings and arrows and flaming bricks of truth thrown at them – She felt that he didn’t have her back when the world came in to put a wall between them, and let them win (I will ALWAYS quote Neil Finn when given the opportunity). He felt like she was so different on TV than with him that it gave him pause, and thought that the pettiness made that version of her contradictory with who she presented herself to be, to him.

But those crazy kids – perhaps with the encouragement of ABC? – decided to give it a go and resumed the engagement. Honestly, I’m not hopeful that they’ll get married, because almost no one on this show ever does, and the cracks are showing so much here that there’s water filling the spaces and it’s forming islands.

But good luck to them.


The Brides They Are A Changing, and We Need Your Help

by SweetMidlife

by Lynne!

So we started this blog about a year ago because both my twin sister Leslie and I were recent brides in our late 30’s, and in our wedding planning had both found that lots of things were geared towards the interest of people in their 20’s.  Both of us and our unofficial triplet Nikki, all born the same year, all got married the same year, and other people in our age range were falling in love and getting married, so we knew that people our age and older wanted discussion and representation on the wedding front. We wanted to gain your insight and share your stories.

Then a funny thing happened.  We realized, as we wrote, that we were writing more about what it was like to BE married at this age then we were about weddings per se.  Then we realized that our readers were more than just people about to get married.  They are people who have been married for years, some who aren’t married any longer, and some who might want to be one day (or maybe not).  And we were writing about more than just lovey-dovey relationships. We were writing about friends, and kids and parents.

What started as a page about weddings actually turned out to be a blog about what comes before, during, and after you get married, all from the viewpoint of people in their mid-30’s and up.  It’s become about grown-up relationships, whoever you happen to be relating to. To this end, the name “Bride at 35” doesn’t seem to fit us anymore.  Sure, we will still talk about weddings and brides, and love stories and all of that, but we also wanna talk about your babies, and your besties, and dating, and your co-workers, and all of that. All from our, well, more seasoned perspective. So we need your help. We are looking for a new name, something that captures the essence of all that we are trying to essence. Hee.

So, put your thinking caps on, and hit u with your best shot! You can reply on this blog, to Facebook, or at bride35@gmail.com.  We will peruse the entries, and unveil our new name soon. Thanks, Peeps!


Music makes the people come together!!

by SweetMidlife

One of our favorite parts about weddings is the music the couple picks. Classical, Gospel, country, or rock.  Live musicians or a DJ? The tunes a couple picks often says a lot about them.   Maybe you love traditional and couldn’t wait to walk down to “Here Comes the Bride”.  Maybe you are a little crazy and had your bridal party walk in to “Friends In Low Places”.   Whatever you did, we wanna hear from you!  What songs did you pick for your ceremony and reception and why?  If you are getting married soon, or getting married one day, what songs do you see as part of your big day? We can’t wait to hear your stories!!

As inspiration, here are the songs that we used in our ceremonies.  We both had a mix of live music and recorded tracks.  The selections were, um, eclectic, and they were totally us and our grooms.  Which is what counts :).

Leslie and Mommy grooving at Leslie's wedding.

Leslie and her husband Scott

Scott and his dad walking in music: Theme to “Sanford and Son”

Wedding party recessional: David Foster, “Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire”. Leslie dreamed of this since she was 14.

 Bridal Entrance: Leslie’s friend Louis on acoustic guitar singing “Grow Old With You”, originally done by Adam Sandler for “The Wedding Singer”, including the sentiment that he wants to love his wife by “carrying her around when her arthritis is bad”.  We are completely serious that it is one of the sweetest songs ever.       

Ceremony Music: Lynne and her then-boyfriend (now-husband) singing the Celine Dion/Clive Griffin version of “When I Fall in Love”

Recessional: Bridesmaid Melanie singing “Into Your Arms” by The Lemonheads on her guitar.

Reception Entrance: Dear Friend Denise announced the Bridal Party with the “Law and Order” CHUNG-CHUNG , and  “In weddings, there are two sides. The bride’s side, and the groom’s side. These are there stories.” And then the “L & O” theme played as the party walked in.

First Dance: “It Might Be You” by Stephen Bishop. Again, Leslie dreamed of this for years, and the song was perfect for her and Scott and their “We fell in love after not seeing each other for about 20 years” story.  And Lynne tried to inconspicuously cry on the side unnoticed. But it was an UGLY cry, y’all. But Leslie and Scott were beautiful, and unscathed by her tears.

Bride/Father Dance: “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban.  People around thought Leslie and Daddy were crying, when actually they were cracking up. You see, they tried to sing along, but no one knew all of the words, so it came out like this… “You raise me up, blah blah da da la MOUNTAINS”.

Lynne and her husband A.C

A.C. singing on the way down the aisle. Dreamy. Yes, Lynne wrote this caption.

Mommy, Grandma, and Auntie Processional: Dear Friend Tracey on guitar doing the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. BEAUTIFUL.

Groom and His Groomsman: A.C. marched down the aisle, with microphone in hand and attendants bopping behind him, singing “Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson, with Tracey singing harmony and playing.  From where Lynne stood waiting to come out, it sounded like a wonderful beginning to a party.

Bridesmaids Processional: Tracey singing “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.  Lynne originally wanted “Making My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates, but bridesmaid Nancy talked Lynne out of it due to it being so boppy, people would fall out.  She is glad she listened. Can’t have that.

Bride Processional (with adorable flower girl Gabi walking out in front of us): Tracey and Leslie singing “God Bless the Broken Road”. It summed the couple up perfectly. Lynne also cried a really ugly cry on the way down the aisle due to the beauty of it and the overwhelmingness of it all. But happy tears. Ugly, but happy.

Recessional: We all danced out to the original recording of “Best of My Love” by The Emotions. BEST PART #1: My cool Uncle Brian dancing in his row. BEST PART #2:  Bridesmaids Shelly and Nancy were the last two in the recessional, and they were walking together. The night before the wedding they got together and choreographed a dance that the two of them did  the way out that included The Macarena, The Sprinkler, and twirling. Lynne didn’t see it until friends posted it on Facebook, and my description does not due the hilarity justice.

First Dance: “All I’ll Ever Ask” by Freddie Jackson and Najee

Daddy/Daughter Dance: “The Girl’s Alright With Me” by The Temptations.  Daddy picked it himself. This is one of Lynne’s  favorite memories of the whole day, including Daddy twirling her. Sigh.

Groom/Mother-in-law dance: A.C. surprised Mommy by calling her up to dance to the Club Noveau version of “Lean On Me”, and then the rest of the party came up to dance, and it was a hoot.

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So, those were our musical nuptial picks.  Now, let’s hear yours!  Weddings past or weddings future!! We wanna know what makes you groove, or cry, or worship, or just happy.


The Kardashian Thing and Careful Consideration

by SweetMidlife

So, there isn’t much to add to the madness that has become the Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries wedding/brief marriage of 72 days/divorce.  There is rampant speculation about who was at fault, if Kim just wanted a wedding but didn’t think about the actual marriage,  if Kris was duped or was a willing participant in a large publicity stunt, and if this taints or adds to the whole Kardashian brand.  And as judgemental as I am tempted to be, I am cautioned not to be because I WASN’T THERE. But here is some of what I think, thanks for asking….

  • Kim’s first press release said that she came to the conclusion to end things after “careful consideration”.  I couldn’t but help to think what would have happened if they had put careful consideration into the decision to get married in the first place.
  •  Divorce is a painful, painful thing, and even though the union was very short, and the argument could be made that they weren’t invested in the first place.  But I can’t do the “I-told-you-so” thing because even if this seems like the easy way out, it’s still sad.
  • This point kind of goes back to the first. In a second statement (actually in a blog post), Kim says that she thinks that maybe she got caught up in the hoopla and excitement of the wedding to the point where it would have been difficult to end things without dissapointing people.  Again, this is where the careful consideration could have come in.  I know people who had deposits down, dresses bought, invites out and called off things anyway because they knew something was wrong. Heartbreaking? Yes. Embarrassing? Yes.  But in the end, for them it was better to face that then go through the divorce later.  Now, did they have television contracts to film the whole thing? No. But still. 

So, all of those random thoughts add up to this for me.  The whole thing is sad. Sad that Kim got carried away with the glitz.  Sad that people are embarrassed.  Sad for Kris.  Sad at the whole mess.  Because even if they both find somebody else soon, and if it seems like the whole thing was no big deal to them, I think that saying those words, those vows, to somebody changes you.  Even if it doesn’t last long, there is something in those words that links you to this other person, and no matter how long it lasts, there is going to be some impact.  My prayer for Kim is that, if she is telling the truth, she carefully consider THIS whole situation when going into the next relationship, and be able to separate the dream, the cameras, the media, and the hoopla, all of it, from the marriage.


The Be a Better (Fill in the Blank) Challenge

by SweetMidlife

by Lynne Streeter Childress

This could be you in a month!!

So, one of my Facebook friends sent me this invitation to an online challenge for wives: for 30 days, you won’t say anything negative to or about your husband, and you will replace that with saying something encouraging about him and to him.  I LOVE this idea, and I signed up. I thought about just sharing here on our blog that I was doing it, and then I would invite wives who read this blog to do the same. And I am. But then I thought, again, about this devotional I read (which I referenced here in this post) that being a good friend was the basis for ALL relationships, because don’t you want your spouse to be your best friend? Then I thought about the fact that we have readers from all sides of the marriage spectrum: married, about to get married, want to be married, not trying to be married right now, or you are single and loving it, thank you very much.  So if you just want to enhance the relationships you are in now, or you want to lay a foundation for your future marriage of respect and niceness, or you want to put that BACK into you marriage or friendships, we issue our own little challenge to you….

For the rest of September, every few days, we will be posting little suggestions on how to infuse your relationships with love and positivity, and wring out the negative. Because for real, the snark may have seemed clever at 21, but at 40, you just look bitter. And that is NOT attractive. Someone told you once that it was. But that’s because they don’t live with you.

So, we invite you to join us on our quest to be the wives/friends/daughters/neighbors we were meant to be. We hope you like where you are at the end of this and that you keep it up.

Do this: Let us know if you will be joining us, and as you do these challenges, tell us how they went, either on our Facebook page, or here in our comment suggestion, or at bride35@gmail.com.

Happy positivity, y’all!!

HERE is CHALLENGE #1:

I think I may have stolen this from someone, but I like it. Go to the Facebook page of your husband, beloved or some good friend and write something you like about them. Like maybe they are so funny they make you snort milk out of your nose. Or maybe they have a kissable nose.  Doesn’t matter. Make their day.


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